April 12, 2011

easy-to-make drawstring bags

We have a situation in my house: too many toy sets with lots of parts that are too easy to mix up with the other toy sets with lots of parts.  The answer to our dilemma?  Easy-to-make drawstring bags.  It's always nice to find a storage solution that's simple for the whole family to use, and the uses for these handy bags are certainly not limited to toys.  They are perfect for travel or the gym and can be used for makeup, crayons, cell phone chargers . . . anything that just needs a home.  These directions are for a 10" x 10" drawstring bag, but you can simply adjust the measurements to make a bag that is larger or smaller.

To make one 10"-square bag, you'll need:

1/3 yard quilting weight fabric (you will have enough fabric leftover for a second bag)
1 yard ribbon or cord
Sewing machine
Straight Pins
Large Safety Pin


1. Cut the fabric into a 12" x 22" rectangle. 

2. Fold in half, right side of the fabric out, and iron the crease.  Measure 2" down from the top and pin. 
3. Sew the two sides, leaving the 2" margin unsewn.

4. Trim the fabric around the two sewn sides to about 1/4"

5. Turn the bag inside out and press.  Sew the two sides again to enclose the seam (but still leave that 2" margin untouched).  Snip threads.

6. Now you will make the sleeve for the drawstring.  With the bag still turned inside-out, fold the edge of the 2" margin back and press.  Next, fold a 1/2" margin down all along the top and press.  Finally, fold the fabric down 1", press, and pin. 

7. Sew around the entire top of the bag.
8. Secure the safety pin to one end of the ribbon or cord and use it to thread the drawstring through the channel.

9.  Remove safety pin, tie the drawstring with a knot, and trim the ends.

10.  Fill your cute bag and enjoy!

April 8, 2011

blue and white delights

It seems that the blue and white color combination has enjoyed a nice little resurgence this season.  And why wouldn't it?  It hits so many marks--it can be nautical and fresh or classy and refined.  It walks the line of masculine and feminine beautifully, making it the perfect color scheme for any dual-gender household. 

Growing up, our good china was this Wedgewood pattern, featuring the blue and white design with little hits of orange and yellow.  I was over the moon when my mother passed it along to me.  At the beach, Blue Willow is the pattern of choice at both my parents' and my aunt's homes--it is a tradition that began long ago with a collection that lived in the family beach house before any of us did.  We even hd a storybook that told the tale associated with the pattern.  In our home, for large get-togethers, we always use the huge service of old A&P Currier & Ives dishware that I bought at an estate sale when we first moved into our house. 

My dining room/ workspace is decorated in the vein of Monet's dining room at Giverny, with blue and white and a healthy splash of yellow.  A large blue and white china chandelier anchors the space, and some of our best transferware is hung on the walls.  I store my work supplies in a large cupboard, originally used to store jam, that my husband's grandfather painted the perfect shade of blue decades ago.

The other day, I saw that a friend of mine had listed a lovely nautical dress and I went on a blue-and-white treasure hunt.  I found so many lovely things.  This truly is a timeless look that can be used in so many applications.